Six Essentials to Being a Gentleman

by | Feb 25, 2014

A gentleman is a chivalrous, courteous, honorable man, according to the dictionary. You may think gentlemen are people from the past, but thoughtfulness never goes out of style. Basically, a gentleman is considerate of others, and that\’s something to which anyone of any age should aspire. Here are the top six essentials of a gentleman:

1)    Practice good hygiene. It seems as if this goes without saying, but here\’s a gentle reminder. Cleanliness is critical. Shower daily. Floss. Use deodorant. Wash your hair and don\’t put too much goop in it. Get a professional manicure if you can\’t manage to do your own nails. Above all, do not bathe in aftershave so strong that it signals your arrival from far away—like another state. You will take her breath away, but not in a good way.

2)    Remember your manners. Your mom taught you to say please and thank you. Your dad taught you to shake hands with authority but careful not to crush the other guy. And look him straight in the eyes as you exchange pleasantries. Being polite is being considerate to those around you. You never outgrow the need behave thoughtfully. Hold the door for the elderly man; carry the heavy bags for the lady. Offer cheerfully and take the initiative. You\’ll be surprised by how good it makes you feel.

3)    Don\’t be vulgar. Belching and fart jokes weren\’t even funny in grade school, so it\’s way past time to give them up. And yes, an f-word here and there is more acceptable than it used to be, but really. You are more creative than that. Stay calm and think of what a gentleman might say. If you must retort to someone, substitute words like “fatuous nincompoop” for swear words. Far more original and much more fun.

4)    Don\’t dress like a slob. T-shirts and sweat pants have their place, and are fine in limited circumstances. But a gentleman takes pride in the way he looks. He has his own style. Take some time to explore what looks good on you but still feels comfortable. Buy a suit—at least one. You\’ll need it. Have it tailored to fit you properly. Get some shirts that look crisp—there are some great no-iron options. And shine your shoes.

5)    Choose to be kind. Take other people\’s feelings into consideration before you act. Send a thank you note or flowers when someone has put you up for the night. Offer your seat on the bus to the pregnant woman. Think how your actions affect others and behave accordingly. When you choose to perform a kind act, though it may be small, you begin to change yourself for the better. The more kind acts you perform, the better you become. It\’s nice to be nice.

6)    Keep yourself in control. A gentleman never flies off the handle, yells or shouts. He is never verbally abusive or mean in any way. He doesn\’t drink more than he can handle so he can always behave with decorum and use restraint when necessary. You can\’t control so many factors in the world, but you can control yourself. If you feel you are getting angry, remove yourself from the situation. A gentleman keeps his cool.

The key is to be considerate. When you are respectful of other people, when you think of other people\’s feelings, when you try to behave as decently as humanly possible, then you are behaving like a gentleman.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.  If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.  You can reach her here:



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